“The DM’s job is to entertain, not to be original.” – Andrew Finch, D&D 4th Edition Dungeon Master’s Guide
The Irongrave campaign will need adventure scenarios, obviously. I don’t want to put too much effort into them, partly because new campaigns are fragile things which perish easily, and partly because I’d rather spend what free time I have gaming rather than preparing. This is not a problem, because after buying games, magazines, modules and so forth for the last 30 years, I have more adventures than I can ever hope to run.
A quick rummage in the Old Games’ Graveyard, and I draw forth… Heroquest! (TM, ©, DSO and Bar by either Games Workshop or Milton Bradley, depending on which side of the pond you bought it and when). I can reskin that in a matter of minutes, and be ready to roll next time there is a chance to play. What will we need?
- Goblins, orcs, skeletons and zombies are standard Savage Worlds monsters, and slot right in.
- Mummies in Heroquest are essentially souped up zombies, and fimir are likewise souped up orcs. Fimir can be SW orc chieftains, and mummies can be Wild Card zombies.
- Gargoyles in this game, including Verag, are “stone statues of great monsters”, so I’ll use whatever SW monster I feel like at the time, but apply the Construct ability and possibly more Toughness to represent their stony hides.
- Chaos warriors – experienced soldiers with plate armour and battle axes. Chaos warlock (including Balur, Grak) – experienced soldier template with Arcane Background (Magic), Blast, Bolt, Deflect and Healing.
- Mentor, Morcar (aka Zargon), the Emperor and Prince Magnus never actually appear in the scenarios, although several of them act as patrons. Therefore, they need no stats. As I’ve already selected a vague parallel version of England in 1010 AD as the PCs’ home kingdom, the Emperor should logically be Ethelred the Unready, and his heir apparent is Ethelstan. Mentor can be Myrddin, the insane northern bard-prophet that Merlin seems originally based upon. Morcar is a good enough name for the obligatory Dark Lord, and historically one of Ethelred’s ministers was called Morcar – oh, the possibilities! But let’s not get carried away with them just yet.
- Sir Ragnar: Starts the game Shaken, but his name is irrelevant really – he’s a minor character who only appears in one scenario.
- Ulag is an Orc Chieftain.
- The Witch Lord is, of course, a Liche. He is immune to all attacks except those inflicted by the Spirit Blade. The heroes would be well advised to run away if they don’t have that.
- One gold piece = $10.
- The Talisman of Lore bestows the Wizard edge on its bearer, for as long as he wears it.
- The sword Orc’s Bane counts as being imbued with the Smite power, but only against orcs.
- The Spirit Blade is the only weapon which can harm the Witch Lord, and it also ignores his magical armour, reducing his effective Toughness to 9.
- I have no need to convert other magic items, because in my campaigns magic is very rare and powerful.
At the current session frequency, the 14 scenarios in the basic quest book will keep me going for at least 6 months, and there are a number of other quest books should I need more. Job done.
If you want to explore this concept yourself, MB offers the original rules and scenario booklets as free PDF downloads – it does this for many games, presumably as a service to those who own the game but have lost some of the parts. Google, and ye shall find.